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Old 10-30-2010, 09:02 AM   #46
MTrider16 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TownPump
This is fantastic... Thank you...keep it coming...
Thanks TownPump.

Quote:
Originally Posted by akadvntr
BTW, what kind of bag are you using on the back? I am looking for a waterproof duffel to strap on mine.
Ortlib is the name of the company that makes the bag. It does a good job of keeping things dry. I bought mine through riderwarehouse.

David
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'13 VFR1200D, '13 XVS950, '09 F800GS, 07 CRF250X
Riding roads in Montana - Big Sky Country
www.mtrider16.smugmug.com
Mountains, Moose, and Miles: a Montanan's Alcan Highway Story
Continental Divide and More: the "No Dust" Tour of WY and MT
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Old 10-30-2010, 09:19 AM   #47
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Wednesday August 18, 2010 – Day 13 – “Fire”

I got up early, packed up the tent, and was on the road by 7:00 am. This was going to be my best picture day, but I didn’t know it yet.

The day started out with some clouds hanging around as the sun worked its way up over the western mountains.



The next fuel stop was about 79 miles down the road, which would be a good place to stop for breakfast.

The mountains were beautiful, with wisps of clouds running over their slopes.



Through the gaps in the trees I could see waterfalls from the snowmelt.



A small river ran along side the road and so I walked out to a gravel bar to take this picture. The clouds were moving fast and would dramatically change the lighting every few minutes.



The bike was parked at the turnout for the river so I took a picture of it and the road while I was there.



The Bell II lodge was my stop for breakfast and fuel.



Maybe I’ll have to come back in the winter and try a little snowboarding.

It was a nice little place with espresso and a good breakfast.

“On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light”



Crossing the Nass River, I had to stop and check out this little one lane bridge.



It was wood, single span, a nice piece of engineering.



For you non-engineers, here is a pic of the river.

I was trying to get to Prince George for a hotel reservation. I had to stop taking pictures and start making miles.

Kitwanga was the next gas stop, and I had a sandwich at the little store there. Now I was on highway 16, a major road between Prince George and Prince Rupert.

“Welcome to the hotel california
Such a lovely place
Such a lovely face
They livin’ it up at the hotel california
What a nice surprise, bring your alibis”



After covering the 156 miles to Burns Lake, the smoke from the fires caught up with me.



Surprisingly there was some clear air between Burns Lake and Prince George, but the ominous plume said this would not last.



As I got to Prince George at 7:00 pm, the smoke started to settle in. When I checked into the motel, I found out they didn’t have guest laundry facilities. Rats, with a shower, it was too late to go to a Laundromat, so the laundry would have to wait till the morning.

“ ’relax,’ said the night man,
We are programmed to receive.
You can checkout any time you like,
But you can never leave!”

I don’t have an ipod or other form of music, sometimes a song will get stuck in my head and I will hear it all day. Glen Fry and the Eagles were the band of the day.

I had some dinner at a faux New York Italian place, and got to bed. After 3 nights of tenting, the bed was a nice change.

Stats for Day 13: 532 miles, 9.3 gallons of fuel, 12.0 hours
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Riding roads in Montana - Big Sky Country
www.mtrider16.smugmug.com
Mountains, Moose, and Miles: a Montanan's Alcan Highway Story
Continental Divide and More: the "No Dust" Tour of WY and MT
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Old 10-30-2010, 09:31 AM   #48
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I got up early and went to a coffee shop for breakfast and coffee. The smoke really settled in overnight.

The laundromat opened at 8:00 so I went over and got the laundry started. It was a good time to update my log (yes, pen and paper!) and check out my routes on the GPS. Another traveler was also washing clothes and came over to check out the maps I was looking at. He was 75 or so and had lived in BC awhile. He suggested that I come back and ride through some dirt roads in the “ranch” country.

Finally after wash, packing, and fueling, I’m on the road at about 10:00 am. I also would change back to Mountain time today, so it was going to be a shorter ride than I had planned.



It was sad that the smoke was so thick, it looked like a beautiful area. There were shadows of mountains in the smoke amongst all the trees.



I took a little detour of the main highway to see this stream.

I stopped in McBride for fuel and then found a small café for lunch. The owners and some of the patrons were grousing about how expensive the Olympics were and the liberals plan to bankrupt the province. I felt right at home. ;-)



I drove to Jasper and then headed up to Hinton where I picked up fuel. Heading south from Hinton, the road turned to gravel after a few miles. Wohoo, this was the riding I had come for!



The road wound around some forest lands, with lots of oil, gas, and coal mining. The pickup drivers were going somewhat north of 70 mph which was more than I wanted to do, so I kept a close eye on my rearview mirror. Fortuneately it was after five in the evening and there weren’t very many. However I kept on the gas and didn’t give up much ground. I also adjusted the rear suspension preload up and forced more weight onto the front wheel which made the bike more stable when I hit some marbles.



At Nordegg I picked up fuel and then traveled on a few miles to a campground. It was 9:00 pm MST and I wasn’t paying too much attention as I hurried up and set up my tent. As I was laying in my sleeping bag and listening to the background noise I realized I was listening to a gas turbine. I don’t know if it was a compressor or generator but it was a distinctive sound like those I have heard at work in Montana.

Stats for Day 14: 413 miles, 10.7 gallons of fuel, 10.0 hours
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Riding roads in Montana - Big Sky Country
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Mountains, Moose, and Miles: a Montanan's Alcan Highway Story
Continental Divide and More: the "No Dust" Tour of WY and MT
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Old 10-30-2010, 09:43 AM   #49
MTrider16 OP
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It was cold in the morning, and the smoke was just as thick. Add to that, I was getting tired, and was running out of Canadian currency. While the last item wasn’t much of a problem, all the others factored into my change of direction. I was going south today.

With the cool weather and smoke I didn’t take many pictures today. I stopped at Nick and Leslie’s Café in Rocky Mountain for breakfast and to warm up. I continued east until I got to Hwy 2 in Red Deer, and I turned south to Calgary. Picking up fuel at Crossfield, I kept heading on to Calgary and the Trans Canadian Hwy for a short jog east.



At Medicine Hat I stopped at this structure commemorating the native tribes of the region.



There were several paintings depicting history and culture of the natives.



Metis were mixed race, and there were several groups in this region and south into Montana. There was a good sized settlement in Montana near Lewistown.



Art from the plains tribes.



And more... It was a very nice display, with explanations from the artists.



Back in Montana. Had to stop and take a pic of this combine by the road. The hills in the background are the Bears Paw Mountains.



So from Medicine Hat I took the road south through Port of White Horse and down to Havre. There was a road I wanted to see across the Missouri.

I had never driven into Havre from this direction, so I had to stop and take a picture at this viewpoint.



For those of you who don’t know how to pronounce this town’s name:
Ha – with a short a, like Hal or happen
vre – like ver, as ever or never

Anyway, I stopped in at the Siesta Motel, a nice little family run place. It was 6:15 pm, so it was a nice night for a shower and dinner at the café next door. There I met another rider from eastern Ontario. He was looking for an inexpensive hotel or campground to stay at, the $65 that the Siesta wanted was a little too much. I guess price is relative; this motel was one of the least expensive places I stayed at the whole trip.

Went to bed, and slept like a baby.

Stats for Day 15: 507 miles, 8.4 gallons of fuel, 11.0 hours
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'13 VFR1200D, '13 XVS950, '09 F800GS, 07 CRF250X
Riding roads in Montana - Big Sky Country
www.mtrider16.smugmug.com
Mountains, Moose, and Miles: a Montanan's Alcan Highway Story
Continental Divide and More: the "No Dust" Tour of WY and MT
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Old 10-30-2010, 10:05 AM   #50
MTrider16 OP
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Saturday August 21, 2010 – Day 16 – “Montana!!!”

I got up fairly early, but then decided to get breakfast. With packing and all, I think it was closer to 10:00 before I got on the road.

There is a little ski hill in the Bears Paw Mountains south of Havre and the road is paved out to it.



There was a creek running along the road. I don’t think you could take a bad picture of the trees and creek here.



Here’s where the bike was parked. It was a beautiful road to ride.



I had turned off the main road and was looping past a small school called Warrick. Then the route angled north past Cleveland, MT.



Finally I stopped at this memorial. This is at the Bear Paw Battle Field, the place that Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce surrendered to Gen. Miles after their long running engagement with the army. This September battle ends the long summer of flight of the non-treaty Nez Perce as they looked for a place of refuge. The survivors were held in Oklahoma for seven years until they returned to the reservation in Idaho.

http://www.nps.gov/nepe/planyourvisi...attlefield.htm



From the battle field I backtracked south through the mountains and headed towards the Missouri river. There are gas wells through these hills with the accompanying compression sites. The roads have the meandering feel of a combination of ranch and natural gas field.



Continuing south the Missouri River breaks open in front of me, and the road starts to meander through the valleys towards the river.



According to my topo map, it is about a 1000 feet elevation from the bench north of the river to the river bank. It is rugged country.



Here the road drops down to the river bank.



The McClellan/Stafford ferry is a simple affair. Just a barge with a small motor to drive the hydraulics for the winch and the ramps. I drive on and the operator comes and takes me across the river.



Here is a picture of the ferry and operators house from where I parked on the south bank.



Hours of operation and weight limits. The Montana road map says it is operational from April to October and gives a phone number to call.



As I was driving up from the river, these two rams were by this water hole getting a drink.

“Time is tickin' away, tick tick tickin' away

Right now is the time that we gotta get with it
The gift that He's given ain't just an exhibit”



The road from the ferry ends up at Winifred and I fill up with gas. All the touring around the countryside this morning has taken some time and it is later in the day. I decide to keep heading south and pick up Hwy 200 across to Glendive. Here is the intersection of the cut across road from Hilger to ghost town of Maiden.



It is a beautiful little valley, and I can bypass Lewistown.

“All the money in the world
Can never stop the hands of time
And a wasted day in your life
Is more than a crime”



There are thunderstorms crossing the plains in front of me, and the wind is fierce at times. I stop in at Winnett and find out that I have missed the worst of the wind.



This little café has some really good homemade pies. I decide on a piece of raspberry. I talk a little with the owner. She is a good egg and enjoys this business out in prairies of central Montana. When I ask her how long she has had this bar/café, she mentions that she wishes she hadn’t waited so long to start, it has been too short.



The sun is setting as I get close to Glendive.

“You got a gift and you best start using it
Cause if you don't you're gonna wind up losing it
Get busy like a school boy makin' an "A"
Cause time my brother is tickin' away”

This little DC Talk song echos through my head as I ride up to my home.



Here’s a quick self portrait at the end of the trip.



A few bugs died on the windshield.



Another tire is about worn out.



So here are a few FAQ’s I get.

Q. Would you do it again?
A. Yes. Now that I’ve been to the end of the road and back I will try to stop along the way and explore a little more.

Q. How did the bike work?
A. It was good. The smaller 800 is good for the gravel roads, but a little low on power and speed for the long stretches. It is a nice compromise for this trip.

Q. Could anyone make this trip?
A. Yes, the Alcan is paved and I would be willing to take my car to Fairbanks, but skip some of the gravel roads. Hey, if a scooter can make it…

Other advice:
It is a long road, so be prepared. There aren’t a lot of services so you will need to compromise and improvise if you have problems. The gas stops along the Alcan are about every 50 miles, which is pretty easy for most travelers. If you need gas, stop and fill up, don’t wait. At Dawson Creek in Alberta, the visitor center has brochures with the mileage for the gas stops and campgrounds. Tires that are steel belted for gravel roads are recommended because of the construction.

Stats for Day 16: 444 miles, 12.5 gallons of fuel, 10.2 hours




Some people like fuel mileage and mileage data for planning, so here is my spreadsheet with all the fuel stops.
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'13 VFR1200D, '13 XVS950, '09 F800GS, 07 CRF250X
Riding roads in Montana - Big Sky Country
www.mtrider16.smugmug.com
Mountains, Moose, and Miles: a Montanan's Alcan Highway Story
Continental Divide and More: the "No Dust" Tour of WY and MT
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Old 10-31-2010, 05:33 AM   #51
rick danger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTrider16


Saturday August 21, 2010 – Day 16 – “Montana!!!”.
Great RR!! Thanks so much. I really enjoyed it. I had a similar trip planned a few years back. But from NYC. A little over 5000 miles one way. I was going to do it on a GS 1200 adv. I bought the bike with this trip in mind for its fuel capacity. I had about three months off from work for the trip, but my dad got sick and I never got to do it. Now I'm up to my ears with building an addition on mom and dads house for me and my bikes. But I still want to do this trip one day. Thanks for letting me do it vicariously. (sp?)
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Old 10-31-2010, 05:55 PM   #52
MTrider16 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick danger
Great RR!! Thanks so much. I really enjoyed it. I had a similar trip planned a few years back. But from NYC. A little over 5000 miles one way. ... {snip}
I understand how life changes.

The distances are amazing. From here in Montana it is still closer to Key West than Prudhoe bay.

Glad you enjoyed the report.

David
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Riding roads in Montana - Big Sky Country
www.mtrider16.smugmug.com
Mountains, Moose, and Miles: a Montanan's Alcan Highway Story
Continental Divide and More: the "No Dust" Tour of WY and MT
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Old 10-31-2010, 11:00 PM   #53
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That's cool ! Thanks for this valuable info !
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Old 11-01-2010, 12:39 AM   #54
MrKiwi
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Many thanks

A great ride report, one I have booked marked for future reference. The mileage chart at the end is great too. Really handy.

I enjoyed your story and the way you have told it, a very good balance. You seemed to have enjoyed it very much so good on you.

Cheers from downunder...
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Old 11-01-2010, 10:32 AM   #55
Mtnjohn
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Great Report. I have caged it from Havre/Chinook south through Lloyd and kayaked under the ferry cable. I hope to head North threw there in a few years. Good ride.
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Old 11-01-2010, 11:06 AM   #56
manfromthestix
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+1 on a nice report, great photos, and too bad you didn't have more time! That's a lot of miles in 14 days, good job!

Surprisingly there was some clear air between Burns Lake and Prince George, but the ominous plume said this would not last.

I lived in Lander, Wyoming for many years before moving to Virginia and the forest fires out west were an annual event to pay attention to (we don't get too many fires out here with >50 inches of precip a year). I was on a Pacific coast tour and one day decided I'd had enough and was ready to get home, so I rode from Seattle to Butte, Montana in one stretch. I would have kept going since I was only a few hundred miles from home but riding through heavy smoke all day had destroyed my eyes and I had to stop. It didn't do much for my lungs, either; it took several days to recover. I don't think I could fight fires for a living, man that's tough work.

Anyway, thanks again for the tour!

Doug
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Old 11-01-2010, 05:53 PM   #57
MTrider16 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrKiwi
A great ride report, one I have booked marked for future reference. The mileage chart at the end is great too. Really handy.

I enjoyed your story and the way you have told it, a very good balance. You seemed to have enjoyed it very much so good on you.

Cheers from downunder...
Thanks mrkiwi, hope your plans work out. Glad the report is helpful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by manfromthestix
I would have kept going since I was only a few hundred miles from home but riding through heavy smoke all day had destroyed my eyes and I had to stop. It didn't do much for my lungs, either; it took several days to recover. I don't think I could fight fires for a living, man that's tough work.
It certianly takes some adjustment. Everyone has different tolerance levels, you gotta decide what your going to get used to and what your going to avoid. Glad you enjoyed the report.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtnjohn
I hope to head North threw there in a few years. Good ride.
Yes, I want to camp and ride around that area, lots of good roads to cover in this state. I need to do more out west too.

David
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'13 VFR1200D, '13 XVS950, '09 F800GS, 07 CRF250X
Riding roads in Montana - Big Sky Country
www.mtrider16.smugmug.com
Mountains, Moose, and Miles: a Montanan's Alcan Highway Story
Continental Divide and More: the "No Dust" Tour of WY and MT
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Old 11-01-2010, 09:04 PM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTrider16
...
Q. Could anyone make this trip?
A. Yes ... Hey, if a scooter can make it…
HaHaHaHaHa
hey, wait a second ...

Great job on the ride report!
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Old 11-01-2010, 09:41 PM   #59
MTrider16 OP
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Location: Eastern Montana
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ks7877
HaHaHaHaHa
hey, wait a second ...

Great job on the ride report!
You're exploits stand out among all other scooter riders. Truely a great one.

David

Am I out of trouble yet?
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'13 VFR1200D, '13 XVS950, '09 F800GS, 07 CRF250X
Riding roads in Montana - Big Sky Country
www.mtrider16.smugmug.com
Mountains, Moose, and Miles: a Montanan's Alcan Highway Story
Continental Divide and More: the "No Dust" Tour of WY and MT
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Old 11-01-2010, 11:14 PM   #60
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Nice Ride, Nice Report. I made a pretty similar ride a couple months before you with 2 other ADV'ers, Looks like the weather cooperated for you also.
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